Monday, May 23, 2005

coming back to Terri

Yesterday, Ann Althouse linked to Joan Didion's piece in the NY Review of Books, The Case of Theresa Schiavo. It is a long, impressive article which highlights many of the peculiarities of the case.

This morning, Amy Wellborn has linked to it as well. Having thought about it this a great deal overnight, I left this comment:
Ann Althouse also linked to Didion, so I read this great but ultimately disappointing piece yesterday. I was disappointed because it was nearly entirely a straightforward (and very fair) rendition of the facts, with notations along the way of how certain facts were constantly being twisted or just left out altogether, but it never moved beyond what happened to examine why, and what should happen moving forward.

One factual omission that Didion herself is guilty of is in not pointing out that the infamous Republican "talking points" memo was not produced by the leaders of the party, but rather was written by a low-level staffer and through a ludicrous (but not malicious) chain of events it was circulated among a few of the party leads. It was far from the "master plan" that the media made it out to be -- but in her glancing references, Didion did not refute the conventional wisdom that it was.

Finally the article just petered out with speculations about how much or how little this case would affect the next election cycle. I would have liked to see what Didion's take on the whole situation was -- the column was published in a review, after all, and one reads a review to hear the reviewer's opinion. She was willing to comment on various events throughout the case -- for example, the unnecessary removal of the feeding tube, rather than just the cessation of feeding -- but punted the opportunity to note that Terri's death was essentially murder by court order.

At the time, I felt that there were many opportunities to help Terri that were denied. Now in retrospect, it becomes even more obvious. Whether or not Terri was beyond help will never be resolved now. May she rest in peace.

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